philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Operating A Chemical Plant Using Augmented Reality

VR-chemical-plant-(University-of-Rochester-photo-J.-Adam-Fenster)Using an augmented reality (AR) platform, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Rochester in New York is developing an innovative way for his students to understand and conduct chemical reactions. While simple in its design—webcam, computer, projector, and a pane of glass—the AR tabletop is impressive in its execution. This teaching experiment, developed in Professor Andrew White’s lab, turned out to have some interesting implications for the chemical industry, as well.

In augmented reality, the coffee mugs transformed into 10-cubic meter reactors—both plug flow and continuous stirred-tank reactors—and the popsicle sticks were suddenly pipes used to connect them. Student’s also had a nob which allowed them to adjust each reactor’s temperature as it was added to the configuration. Cameras captured reactor locations, and then this information was relayed to a computer, which was hooked up to a projector that displayed the results of the simulations onto the tabletop.

Even further, White and his collaborators—graduate students, Heta Gandhi and Rainier Barrett, and Dr. April Leuhmann and Dr. Brendan Mort—hope to work with the Rochester Museum & Science Center to develop an AR platform for simulating oil spills at the molecular level. White says the platform has the potential to be part of the conversation regarding the use of oil dispersants during a spill. The impact these dispersants have on wildlife is highly contended, and White and his colleagues believe AR could “allow people to try to design an oil surfactant and test its performance to separate oil and water with a molecular dynamics simulation while at the same time using QSAR modeling to assess its toxicity.” They also have future plans to develop a way to “control where a dispersant is injected in an interactive oil spill.”

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NY Times Brings Readers Closer to Bowie’s Freaky Costumes in Augmented Reality

giphy-4 giphy-5With digital music and streaming services gaining in popularity, augmented reality could replace the album art experience that many music fans of older generations wax poetically about as the centerpiece of listening to the music of their youth. Because why stare at photos of your favorite artists when you can invite them into your bedroom?

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What it’s like to wear Facebook’s $199 VR headset, Oculus Go

It was soft. It didn't leave marks on my face. And the VR looked just fine.

That's my first-impression feel of Oculus Go, an upcoming bid by Facebook to get new people interested in VR for a sub-$200 price, no phone necessary.

Facebook, owner of Oculus, has had a damn challenging week as it is. But Facebook and specifically Oculus have additional challenges with virtual reality, specifically advancing the tech forward and making sure people actually want to use it.

In that sense, I quickly discovered that Oculus Go is more about entry-level accessibility. The games and apps seem just like those on Samsung Gear VR, the Samsung phone VR accessory that's been available for years. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. But the headset's design is less clunky, and the integrated, cleaner, softer and smaller construction here is better than Gear VR in most ways, more reminiscent of Google's Daydream View VR headset... but with all the VR hardware and displays built right in.

Anshar Wars Online is a space shooter, where movement is controlled by my head turning. Graphics looked smooth and controls were responsive. It's fine. I've tried better VR games, but it was a solid demonstration of the Go's capabilities.

Oculus Go isn't pushing new tech territories. It doesn't have 6 DoF (six degree of freedom tracking), which allows leaning forward or walking around a real space in VR. Instead, like Samsung Gear VR or Daydream View, you can only turn your head. An included controller with a simple click touchpad and trigger button is almost exactly like the wand-type controllers that come with Gear VR and Daydream View, and acts as a basic pointer with simple controls in games and apps. So, it's basically a phone-free Gear VR.

Oculus Go doesn't have a release date yet, but it's probably arriving by May to coincide with Facebook's F8 conference.

Oculus Go isn't bleeding-edge tech. But it made me realize that, for many people who haven't even tried VR before, it'll be plenty good enough... if you're OK with making Facebook your VR gateway right now.

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Deep Dive or The Limits of Immersion

An Exhibition of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Artworks

Featuring: Shezad Dawood, Asma Kazmi, Marcos Lutyens, Joe Mckay, Jill Miller, Lauren Moffatt, Greg Niemeyer, and Olivia Ting.

Curated by Asma Kazmi

Thursday, April 5th – Thursday, April 26, 2018
Exhibition Preview: April 4th & 5th, 5:30 – 7:30pm

Worth Ryder Art Gallery, 116 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Gallery Hours: Monday through Thursday, 12 – 5 pm
Free, Accessible, and Open to the Public

Deep Dive or The Limits of Immersion explores the possibilities and challenges of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) to shape, integrate, and confuse aspects of reality.

The eight artists included in the exhibition have created guided meditations that take the viewer through various computer generated landscapes. The liminal spaces in AR/VR present poetic imaginaries of ecology, technology, history, postcolonial thought, and disability, while creating temporal and spatial multiplicities.

At a time when consumer-grade VR equipment is just coming on the market, and AR games and apps are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, this exhibition challenges artists and viewers to engage with a potentially powerful technology, while questioning its limitations and consequences.

Co-Sponsored by the Department of Art Practice and Digital Humanities at Berkeley.

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Atari Movie Makers Plan to Raise $40 Million via Bushnell Token Sale

nolan-bushnell-e1521651064135The makers of the upcoming Atari movie about the iconic video game console maker are eschewing traditional film financing models for a blockchain-powered initial coin offering (ICO), and plan to sell coins named after Atari founder Nolan Bushnell via a private pre-sale this spring. Film production and financing company Vision Tree plans to raise as much as $40 million with the sale of these Bushnell tokens.

The Atari movie is currently in pre-production, and is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way as well as Vision Tree and Avery Productions. It’s being pitched as a biopic about Atari’s founder and his life story of starting out as a pinball machine repairman who went on to found one of the most iconic video game console brands.

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Porsche Launches Mission E Augmented Reality App

image-3The app, developed through collaboration with Google, allows the user to digitally peruse through Porsche’s first purely electric sports car. Similar to the app BMW already has for its i8, users can superimpose a 3D image of the Mission E over the scene in front of them.

The app is available now on both Android and iOS.

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International VR Experiences to Compete at Paris’ NewImages Festival

dsc6930-1"The Real Thing” and “Who We Are” are among the 19 international virtual-reality experiences set to compete at NewImages, a new Paris-based festival dedicated to international virtual-reality creations.

Replacing the Paris Virtual Film Festival, this new event will boast two competition lineups: one for contemplative VR films and another for immersive/standup VR.

World premieres include Benoit Felici and Mathias Chelebourg’s “The Real Thing,” a VR documentary exploring urban myths in the suburbs of Shanghai; Jürgen Hansen and Pierre-Emmanuel Le Goff’s “Dans la peau de Thomas Pesquet,” following a man who has dreamed of becoming an astronaut since childhood and participates in an intensive training with American astronaut Peggy Whitson; and Manuel Lefèvre and Frédéric Gourmet’s “700 Requins dans la nuit” (pictured), an exploration of the Pacific Ocean where hundreds of sharks live and hunt.

The event, which is set to run April 4-8 at the Forum des Images – the former venue of Series Mania – in the center of Paris, is expecting 10,000 participants. NewImages is being organized by the Paris Virtual Reality Film Festival and the French company I Love Transmedia.

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Ikea’s augmented reality ‘try before you buy’ app comes to Android thanks to ARCore

Ikea’s augmented reality “try before you buy” app has just launched on Android.

The idea is that you get an accurate 3D impression how furniture and other wares will look in your home, especially in terms of design. The app includes over 3,200 items for you to check out from lamps to sofas to wastebins.

The app uses Google ARCore, Google’s augmented reality software for Android. ARCore has been in preview for a while but launched properly last month.

 If you’re thinking you’ve heard of Ikea Place before, chances are you actually have – it’s been available for iOS since the launch of iOS 11 and Apple’s ARKit software. We’ve used both apps and we can say that both are neck and neck in terms of their capabilities.
The Android app also introduces a new visual search feature powered by Grokstyle, enabling you to match stuff in your house (or more likely someone else’s house!) with items from the Ikea catalogue. It uses your device’s camera, naturally. Visual search has also launched on the latest version of the iOS app.

Google News Initiative launches to boost better journalism

Google will partner with news publications to help surface the most accurate information possible, especially during breaking news situations.

Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler said in a blog post that the company is committing $300 million dollars over the next three years to meet its stated goals.

Along with the initiative, Google announced Subscribe with Google, a tool that streamlines the sign up and subscription process for premium news sources. Launch partners include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Telegraph, the Financial Times among several other international publications.

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Disney’s Latest Research Project Can Turn Scripts Into Virtual Reality

img_20180319_141254-1-e1521494251603Disney Research has been working on a way to turn natural language scripts into virtual reality (VR) pre-visualizations. While currently focusing on VR story creation, the tool could ultimately be used for traditional filmmaking as well, said Disney Research digital platforms group lead Sasha Schriber during a talk at the Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC) in San Francisco Monday.

“It goes from script to storyboard to animation in real-time,” said Schriber.

Project Cardinal’s software can ingest scripts and turn them into simple animations, which can then be manually manipulated by filmmakers. Creatives can also integrate voice recordings on the spot, and then preview scenes directly in VR while wearing a headset, giving a vantage point that’s similar to being on scene with the actors of a movie.

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